Saturday, March 16, 2019

The not-so-strange stranger

                                                                                                      Photo by Chan Walrus from Pexels


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Phone chimes, informing her of a text message.

“Hi, I am here to deliver your Amazon package. Waiting below your office building, I am deaf and mute and thus cannot call you. Request you to please come downstairs,” it read.

She immediately replied that she was on her way and went downstairs. Once there, she could visibly notice that the delivery person was hassled. With a little bit of sign language that she had learnt, she asked him what the issue was. He signed back informing her that he had run out of his mobile balance and is unable to get in touch with this one other person in the building.

In an attempt to help him, she called the number from her phone,

“Hello,”  a man answered.
“Hi, this is Sarah, we work in the same building. Your Amazon parcel is here can you please downstairs and pick it up? The delivery guy is out of balance to make a call.”
“Oh! I am not at work right now, i'll reach by 4pm.”
“Is it okay if I keep the package with me? I work on the second floor, you can just come pick it up from me.”
“Sure, no problem.”
“Give me a call once you are here, i'll meet you near the elevator”
“Thank you”

She signed for both the packages and went back to work. Being a feature writer was always her dream, having accomplished that she loved her work and always strived to do better.

At around 4pm, she got a call.

“Hey, this is Danny, I am just coming upstairs”
“Sure, see you at the elevator in a second”

She reached elevator just as the door opened and a man, maybe in his mid 30s stepped out. He had a short beard, small eyes and wore a nice smile. She looked at him and thought, “he is cute!”

“Umm.. Sarah?”
“Yes, here,” she said handing him the package.
“Thank you,” he said and stepped back into the elevator to go upstairs.

The entire episode would not have taken more than 10 seconds but somehow it played over in her mind for the rest of the day.

The more she thought about it, she started analyzing him. He seemed older, could be married. He definitely seems like someone who will be married. But he is cute!

She wanted to talk to him, get to know him. Find out if he is married? Is he single? These are questions she needed answers to just so she could decide if there was any potential there.

A quick social media search was futile, she just understood that he was a Tech Writer. And by the looks of it, he knew what he was doing because there was absolutely no information about his personal life on the internet.

Some would call that creepy, in this day and age when everyone is live broadcasting their lives, this fellow had absolutely no online trace. Instead of finding it weird, she was amazed by it.

The next few days they kept bumping into each other, in the canteen, on her way to the office gym or just randomly in the corridors. There was an eerie awkwardness amongst them. They never smiled or acknowledged each other, don't be mistaken, they definitely registered each other’s presence, just didn’t make it obvious.

The stolen glances made her want to get to know him even more.

“You see that fellow there in light blue shirt? I find him really cute,” she told Ruhi during lunch in the office canteen.

Ruhi was her colleague and in the short time that they worked together, they had grown close. Instead of colleague, she now considered Ruhi as a friend who works with her.

“He is not really cute and I think he is a little older for you,” Ruhi was quick to dismiss him.

A couple of months later

Sarah and Ruhi had decided to go for dinner post work to this restaurant that is near the office. Due to the proximity, and the fact that it is open till late and is pretty affordable, the place was popular amongst the people who work in her office.

Sarah was waiting for Ruhi at the bar, a Caprioska by her side and book under her nose. Since her work involves reading and writing all day, reading for leisure was a forgotten concept. To counter that, she now carried a book with her all the time, the minute she gets some free time, she starts reading. While the main characters in the book were flirting with each other, Sarah sighed wondering if there is any romance left in her life. Just then the restaurant door swung open and she looked up, Danny entered.

He looked quite alluring even in his tired post-work look. Sarah returned her gaze back to her book, she didn’t want Danny to catch her eyeing him.

“May I take this seat?” Danny asked pointing to the bar stool next to her.
“Sure,” she said trying to control the glee on her face

He took the seat, ordered a whiskey on the rocks.

“So what are you reading?” he asked
She showed him the book cover, he read the name of the book and asked if she was liking the book.
“It is interesting, I am only half way through.”
“Acha, do you come here often?”
“Maybe two - three times a month, I am waiting for a friend actually.”
“I have seen you in the office couple of times”
“Umm.. me too. Well, since we work in the same building, we are bound to bump into each other”
“And still you never managed to say hi, or smile”
“You could do that too. Also, it is just a little weird. I mean, we don’t know each other”
“Let’s change that then, how about we meet here next friday, after work?,” he asked
“Umm.. sure”
“Until then, let’s just slyly check each other out in the office canteen”

While she looked at him stunned and a little embarrassed, he smiled and left the bar.






Monday, February 11, 2019

What I learnt from my Social Media Detox



Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

A breakup was all that was required to push me down the depression pit - cutting myself off from all friends, work and social media. It wasn’t what I would have ideally wanted but the loneliness that I imposed on myself was in a way, welcomed.

Getting off Social Media was something I was toying with, but since I have a blog, the urge to stay relevant in this (now) maddening world of “blogging” and “influencing” kept pushing me to churn out content. Once I stopped, it felt the compulsion to post was self-imposed.

While I am still not back on Social Media, only on Twitter and I blog when I feel like writing, I did learn a few things in the last 8 months of no social media.

I don’t need to know what's happening all the time!
When I am bored or have nothing at hand, I would subconsciously reach out to Instagram and check out stories and posts. To be honest, the stories weren’t that great – like I don't need 30 videos of the road, I understood you are on a road trip after watching the very first video.
Sitting without nothing to do used to be uncomfortable, my reading had gone for a toss because whenever I could find some time, I would while it away trying to catch up on what others were doing. Exactly, like the neighbourhood aunty you despise, just a digital version of her.

Once the pressure of posting things is gone, you actually start appreciating moments more
No one had told me that I had to post a picture of my food even before I ate it, but I did that anyway. And once the picture is posted, while I am eating my meal, I would be checking my phone to look for comments and likes on my post.
Enjoying a meal with friends? Mindful eating? What’s that?
Now, it is more about the company and the food, without worrying about posting a picture of what I am eating with people who are someplace else, not enjoying their meal.

 Friends knew I won’t check their stories or updates, thus started messaging me often to inform me, helped connect with a few friends who took that extra effort to stay connected
The most important change that I have noticed is that I started connecting with people more. Now, when I meet my friends, they have a chance to tell me what they did all week. Earlier, I used to watch what they did all week on their stories and then barely have anything to talk about once we meet.

I actually have time at hand!
You know how we always complain that we don’t have enough time? We cannot pursue a hobby, read a book, and spend time with loved ones because you never seem to find time to do those things? Well, that has changed a bit now, instead of scrolling through my social media feed, I read a page or two of a book or an article that I have saved on Pocket. I have enough time to catch up on my favourite shows and then indulge in some gardening as well.

So, in all, getting off social media doesn’t really seem that bad. Yes, there are occasional moments when I feel like sharing but my depression kind of gets in the way of actually making that effort and posting things. And at times, when I have to want to share things, Twitter is at my disposal.

As of now, I am enjoying this ‘ignorance is bliss’ phase; maybe I will get back on the social media when I am at a better mental state and really start missing the noise and mess.


Saturday, December 29, 2018

Smart is the way forward









Back in the day, every one was in a race to be the most successful. Now, everyone wishes to get smarter each passing day. Governments are planning smart cities, we as a human race, is trying to reach out to other smarter species in the universe, engineers are making smarter computers. I, for a change, am trying to make my home smart – and I am pretty successful at that now.

The smart watch, fitness band, smart speaker, smart security cameras that I use in my daily life, has not only managed to make me even more productive but has also helped ease my life. I remember, as a child, my mother used to take care of all my requirements to get me out of the house on time for school, I can pretty much say that the smart devices in my house are now making me get out of the house on time for work.

The alarm on my smart phone is the reason I manage to wake up on time in the morning. For the workout, depending on my mood, I would go to the gym or workout at home. My Google Home plays a workout video on my TV or if I am in a mood to dance, will play my bollywood workout playlist. I have to admit, the sound quality is also one of the reasons I can keep up with the workout – you feel like dancing even more when the sound quality is nice, right?

Mind you, my Fitbit is tracking all of this activity; it kind of feels good that you have already completed 2k out of your daily 10k steps goal.

I like listening to old bollywood songs while getting ready in the morning, so of course the Google assistant is playing all the Raj Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor and Kishore Kumar songs while I am getting ready. I also like that my Saavn app also shows all my favourites right on the home screen so I don’t have to waste time looking up the songs I like. I have also started enjoying podcasts, kind of like a food for thought without hindering your daily routine, so at times I skip the songs and listen to a podcast.

While I am getting ready to leave the house, my Google Assistant again comes into pictures and updates me about the traffic on my way to work, which route I should take and reminds me of my meetings and to-do list for the day.

I use Dropbox and Google Notes for most of my work. I am a journalist, writing down things and making notes is a huge part of my job. I like the easy that Dropbox and Google Note offers, they sync in the background and this way I can easily work on the same file from work, home and my phone. 

My dropbox is also synced with my camera, so if I take a picture on my phone it is automatically saved on my home PC, I don’t even have to transfer pictures anymore! The ease and comfort that these smart apps provide is unmatched and I always have all the required documents with me.

My phone reminds me to stay hydrated, my fitness band reminds me to stay active and the fitbit app on my phone counts the calories I eat so I have started opting for healthier food items. And when I have some time to spare and want to do something productive, I whip out the book from my bag and catch up on some reading, and for when I don’t have a book, my kindle is always by my side.

You can see how the smart technology is helping me stay on top of everything, right?

As I reach back home, my technology updates me on how well I have done and what needs to be done tomorrow. Constantly motivating me to outshine myself.

I generally spend some time with my technology, updating it. I take into account meetings for the next day, things to do etc. just a nice way of having everything in one place.

With the world moving at a break neck speed, you need to keep up with it in order to succeed. With smart products by your side, the task becomes easy and something that you can totally manage, because, it feels like you have an army of assistants even when you are a one man army.

The #SmartHomeRevolution is honestly what keeps the world running so well.

You can buy your smart devices from Flipkart, most of my things are from there as well. Flipkart has a wide range of Smart Products from  Smart Wearable, Smart Home, Smart Camera and Smart lights, so do #GetFitWithFlipkart


Sunday, December 23, 2018

3. Have you experienced that love?


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Have you experienced a love, where just the presence of that person calms you?

Provides you with peace.

Makes you feel like everything is perfect in the world, and nothing can take away the happiness from you.

That warm hug that you crave at the end of the day. A cuddle with him on the weekend is better than the most happening party in the town.

A love, that gives you the energy to go meet him even at midnight, because the love gives you that adrenaline rush that takes away the tiredness and sleep.

You are thanking your stars and are grateful that you found this wonderful person in this maddening world.

Every time, your friends crib about how pathetic and difficult dating is these days, you do a silent prayer thanking god that the one you fell in love with is not like that.

And then, one fine day, he ghosts you.

6 months later, you are just sitting there – stumped, depressed and unhappy. Hoping that he would call, hoping he would get in touch. Hoping…  



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Sunday, November 25, 2018

2. Too early to get married?





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Three years have passed.

It was a breeze, she ensured that she made the most of her college life, learnt everything possible during her academic years, submitted projects and assignments on time, actively participated in college fests and other events, was the class representative for all three years, completed three internships and all was well.

The professor and she had also started texting each other – harmless, cute to an extent.
It couldn’t go any further anyway, she already had a boyfriend. They had been dating for close to 5 years then. Things weren’t great with them at the moment but they were still working it out. Rahul was six years elder to her, obviously he always reached different stages of life before she did. The only ‘grown up’ thing that she did before Rahul was earn money; she had been working in plays as a child actress. Acting never really came to her naturally but it was something she explored as a hobby, always knowing that she wanted to write for a living.

So, Rahul was now in the ‘Wedding Phase’ all his friends were getting married or popping kids and his family also had started pressurising him to get married. Now that everyone knew that they have been dating for 5 years, they easily assumed that we will tie knot soon.

She was however in a different frame of mind, she wanted to study, secure a career, live life like a strong professional independent woman and then get married. You know, live a life before tying the knot – she didn’t want to just move from her maternal home to her husband’s home – she wanted to explore living on her own as well. Not that she didn’t want to get married to Rahul, she just, wanted some more time.

The pressure was stressing her out and it was affecting her mental peace and harmony. She started getting annoyed at the smallest of the things, started avoiding visiting Rahul’s home or even getting intimate with him, hung out with friends a little less just because she didn’t want to constantly keep defending herself for delaying the wedding.
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Saturday, November 17, 2018

1. The cute professor on the block


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She can vividly remember when she first saw him – walking into the college with a backpack, his walk wasn’t straight nor was it lopsided, she liked to call it a ‘penguin walk’. The sunlight crept into the hollow walkway from a narrow door; he emerged right from the sunlight making a silhouette of sorts.

“Is that the professor you were talking about?” She asked a second year student
“Yes! Suyash sir”

She has heard about him before, a teacher who is not as strict and is more like a friend to the students. Everyone loved him, few girls even had a crush on him and why not, he was cute! She also started liking him. That is the thing about BMM, the course was barely a decade old and often required practical learning thus people from the industry were called in to take up a few subjects. Since these industry experts are professionals and not really teachers, they are fairly young and have a good rapport with the students.

“Well, he is cute, he will teach me next year no?” she said with a glint of aww in her eyes.
“Yes, but you can attend his lecture today with me if you want. We have an open door policy here. 
You can attend other lectures as long as you don’t bunk your own lectures.”

She was a sincere student, attended all lectures, completed all the assignments, always on time, from that day onwards, she started attending his lectures regularly as well.

Index

This is a piece of imagination, so if it feels like it is about you – it is not. I have been trying to get myself to write stories for a while now; I never really got to it. Finally, I am trying with this series; hopefully you’ll enjoy reading it as much I am enjoying writing it.


1. The cute professor on the block
2. Too early to get married?





Saturday, May 5, 2018

Understanding Depression – One Step at a Time




We hear the word depression often; social media keeps talking about it. Have we ever paused to check if people around us might be depressed?

There are signs then why do we not notice and push the person to a saturation point and the person has to do something drastic.

One tragic incident has the potential of immediately harming a person or at times, it is a long term process until the person reaches the breaking point. That breaking point could be something very minimal but the effects of it could be huge.

Snap out of it is not going to happen
A lot of people tell depressed people to just get over it and get better.  Saying  “Try to get better” is not going to make everything fine. Trust me, the person was already trying; they are not waiting for you to come tell them to do that. Being depressed is not a trip to lala land, no one willingly wants to be depressed. They just are.

A depressed person can smile
Another misconception is that depressed people do not smile or laugh or spend some nice time. There could be times when you are not able to tell the difference between a depressed and not depressed person. A person suffering from depression can have a couple of hours smiling and dancing but what happens after that is what counts. The sleepless nights, the nightmares during whatever little sleep they get, the anxiety and panic attacks, the lack of energy, the lack of will to live.
Not that I have read up a lot but  a number of famous people who have killed themselves due to depression were behaving just fine a couple of hours or days before they took that step. Their closed ones didn’t anticipate something like this would happen.

No coffee will cover up the drop in energy
This is not like a drop in energy after a heavy meal. This lack in energy makes them not want to get out of bed or even open their eyes. This lack in energy would not allow them to move at times and staying still and staring into the distance becomes normal.

Everyday things can feel like a big task
Like I mentioned in the earlier point, waking up is a task. Doing normal everyday things seem like a huge deal for them. Waking up, getting ready, concentrating, smiling, interacting with people becomes difficult. And because a lot of people do not understand this, this can become a barrier between them and the society. This barrier pushes them further into depression.

It’s not the same for everyone
This is not a one-size-fits-all dress, depression is different for everyone and the way the cope with it is also different. Understand the difference and try to be supportive whenever possible.

There is no one reason or maybe there is
What leads to depression is as diverse as humans itself. A major incident can be the cause of depression. At times, the person is already battling depression that people are not aware of and then one incident can trigger a full blown depression war.
Again, the trigger can be diverse, it may seem like a non-issue for you but it does make a huge impact on the depressed person. Be a little sensitive.

They don’t want to feel like a burden and let you down, the pressure is killing
It can be tricky to deal with this situation, asking them to snap out of it or mentioning that they are over doing it or saying that they seeking attention etc would not help. They don’t want to let you down or ruin your good mood, claiming that they are doing so puts pressure on them. They feel like a burden and that they are letting you down.

They appreciate your effort
I understand that it may not look like it but they are appreciating your efforts. They are just not able to express them yet.

What you can do help a depressed person:
  • Understand that they are not doing this on purpose
  • Try to find out the reason and see if you can help make it better. Remember that this won’t immediately snap them out of depression but you sure are on the right path
  • Talk to them
  • Do not try to win the conversation. Who is right and who is wrong is not the concern here. It definitely won’t matter if this right and wrong may lead to the person hurting themselves
  • Travel – going someplace new can be a good way to help the person
  • Be supportive and show that you love them






Saturday, March 17, 2018

Overcome stage fright | Tips for first time speakers





Public speaking can be challenging for a few people, but it need not be so. Just a little bit of practice and confidence can help you be confident on stage!

With a little bit of theatre experience and some experience of hosting events during my academic years, I think I have gathered few tips or hacks that help me be confident on stage. Sharing the same with you, hoping they will help.

Do not memorise
People often tend to memorise their script and the problem with this is that in case you lose the thread on stage, you might just fumble and this may cause you to panic. Instead do memorise the script but tweak it according to you, memorise it like a dialogue, like talking to a friend. This way, if you forget on stage, you still know what the crux of the topic is and can continue using your own words. Then pause after completing the thought/sentence – look at the script in hand and get back on track.
Get comfortable with silence, do not read out / say everything at a go. Pause. Collect your thoughts. Go on.

Be confident
This could be a little narcissistic or people may call it over confidence, but two hours before I go on stage I tell myself that I am the best! Like really the best! The most amazing person ever! And no one else is as good enough as me. This boost of energy and confidence gives helps me stay confident on stage and thus makes me do a good job.

Pointers
Make pointers on your script, highlight the important parts, this way just glancing at the script will help stay on track.

Don’t be blinded
If this is a proper stage set up in a theatre or an auditorium, understand that there will be lots of lights and it would actually be difficult to look at your audience beyond the first few rows. Do make sure that you maintain audience interaction even if you cannot see them. It would be easier to maintain eye contact with the first few rows, beyond that jus assume you are looking at people or look at the end wall of the auditorium.

Prep for it
Get to the venue a little earlier, read out a few lines for the empty chairs, do a sound check. The point here is to get comfortable, you do not know the audience and that’s your element of surprise, anything other than that – you should be aware of beforehand.

Get comfortable with you mic
if it is a lapel mic (clip on mic) make sure you are not wearing a necklace which might accidently bump against the mic causing a loud sound. Using a lapel mic also means you’ll have a batter pack attached at the back of your trousers. If you are wearing a dress, try using a belt inside the dress or wear a dress with pockets.

Slides are to guide you!
Often, people start reading the slides during a presentation. Do Not Do That! Slides are to guide you, use it as a prompter, let what you are saying be more informative.




Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Celebrity Style Decoded - 1




Dress like your favorite Celebrity, here's where you can buy items similar to what your favorite celebrity was wearing.

Malaika Arora
Move over little black dress, the red velvet dress is here to rock!

Pic Credit: https://www.ndtv.com/entertainment/malaika-arora-trolled-for-too-short-dress-really-internet-1788241

We have three similar dresses that you can opt for:

1. http://www.shein.in/Mock-Neck-Frill-Detail-Velvet-Dress-p-385451-cat-1727.html
2. http://www.shein.in/V-Neckline-Swing-Dress-p-388565-cat-1727.html
3. http://www.shein.in/Burgundy-Ruched-Asymmetric-Velvet-Cami-Dress-p-313579-cat-1727.html


Alia Bhatt
An outfit that is perfect for a causal day out and yet, if required, can be dressed up for a fancier event


Although we couldn't find the exact replica, we did manage to find something that was close enough

1. http://www.koovs.com/koovs-spot-mesh-ruffle-cami-dress-100574.html?skuid=425533&gclid=Cj0KCQjw7Z3VBRC-ARIsAEQifZS1SAJhdDH6m-rG4F1MenslZV11_ajWizblLkpQCpiJfjQHGHm3_30aAvd6EALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

2. http://www.shein.in/Half-Placket-Polka-Dot-Ruffle-Dress-p-434429-cat-1727.html

Sonakshi Sinha

Sonakshi was seen sporting this floral top with jeans, making it the perfect causal outfit for everyday or for when you are running late and need a quick fix.


http://bit.ly/2FxIiBw

Although, I couldn't find the exact copy, I have mentioned some similar floral tops.

1. http://www.koovs.com/koovs-crop-shirt-26-101843.html?skuid=432599
2. http://www.shein.in/Scallop-Trim-Floral-Top-p-423741-cat-1890.html
3. http://amzn.to/2pbQoEQ
4. http://amzn.to/2FAR2Hb

Want me to share links for some other looks? Let me know what you would like to see next on the blog in the comments below. 




Monday, March 5, 2018

Sail under the Bandra Worli Sea Link with Mumbai Maiden



The reason why I love Mumbai so much is that the city never stops surprising you. The city has so much to offer – culture, history, tradition, fast paced life, the sea, the traffic, the pollution and the spirit to never stop living your life.

Every couple of months if not every couple of weeks, there is something happening in the city that makes you want to look forward to the weekend. You spend the weekend exploring and relaxing and doing something that will help you recharge for the week coming up.

I recently spent my Saturday evening, doing just that. I cruise ship ride just off the Mahim coast. Mumbai Maiden was launched recently in collaboration with Maharashtra Tourism, it is the perfect way to bring in your weekend and recharge yourself for the week to come.

The ship sails from under the Bandra – Worli sea link giving you a beautiful view of the underbelly of this iconic structure and the providing with you a stunning view of the Mumbai Skyline. The ship then sails along the Mumbai coastline. You can get onboard the cruise from Bandra Jetty; a speed boat will take you to Mumbai Maiden which is anchored in the sea.

The ship is an initiative by SSR Marine Services, a private marine company in joint collaboration with Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC). 

The ship has two levels and the upper deck, which can easily accommodate 285 passengers plus a 15 member crew across its various levels.

It has a restaurant at the ground level of the ship to handle any F&B requirement.   Besides this the ship has a banquet hall at the 2nd level which can be available for hosting events, the Upper deck would be the focal point where people get to enjoy the panoramic view of the shoreline and sea beyond.  

It has all the amenities for the comfort of a passenger with well trained staff and equipment to oversee the safety and security onboard. 

The ship is spacious and great for a get together or a party or even an office team outing / bonding session. As the sun sets, the ship cruises into the city waters, the wind in your hair and the soothing breeze is enough to calm anyone down.

I boarded the speed boat from Bandra jetty and ventured towards Mumbai Maiden which was anchored in the sea, once onboard, I went around the ship once quickly and somehow stumbled into the main control room, the captain was nice enough to invite me in and explain me the various aspects of sailing a ship and the radar and the safety precautions.

After an informative session with the captain, I went to the upper deck which is so spacious; it has enough seating arrangements as well. I quickly grabbed a seat and lounged there with some coffee. 

The sea is so calming that I didn’t wish to get off the ship. Sitting there with a bustling city on one side and the calm and vast ocean on the other side, sipping on my coffee and reflecting on my thoughts was indeed bliss.



A post shared by Pooja Mahimkar (@poojamahimkar) on



A post shared by Pooja Mahimkar (@poojamahimkar) on